Why is organic waste a problem

Waste and raw materials: the most important points in brief

2. Increasing consumption of raw materials, increasing amount of waste (pollution)

The total amount of raw materials that are needed in Switzerland or abroad to meet Swiss demand for goods and services is increasing continuously.

Per person, raw material consumption fell by 6% (to less than 17 t) between 2000 and 2015. With this value, the so-called material footprint of Switzerland is still well above the average of the EU countries (EU28 value) of 14 t per person. With a share of over 40%, gravel, sand and other non-metallic minerals make the largest contribution to Switzerland's material footprint.

Overall, Switzerland produces around 80 to 90 million tons of waste annually. It can be assumed that the total amount will continue to increase in the future.

Construction activity generates the largest share of waste in Switzerland (84%). In addition to the large quantities of excavated and excavated material (57 million t or 65% of the total waste volume), it generates around 17 million t (or 19%) of demolition material annually.

In second place is the steadily increasing municipal waste (7%): In 2017, 6.1 million t of waste (from households, office buildings, small businesses, courtyards and gardens as well as from public rubbish bins) were generated (1970: 1.9 million, 2000: 4.73). At the same time, the amount of waste per person increased: from 659 kg in 2000 to 715 kg in 2016. This makes Switzerland one of the frontrunners in Europe.

Biogenic waste is the third largest waste category. The total amount of annual biogenic waste (i.e. wood waste, food and agricultural waste, dry sewage sludge) was around 5.5 million t in 2017.

In addition to the increasing amount, the composition of the waste also changes. The trend towards the manufacture of more complex products (e.g. composite packaging) poses additional challenges for environmentally friendly disposal.

With the increasing technical complexity of products, especially electronic applications, technical metals such as rare earths, gallium, indum, cobalt etc. are increasingly being used. Although these elements are only used in small quantities, their extraction in mines causes a high specific environmental impact due to their complex extraction.